Children’s Library Celebrates 30 Years

Children’s library marks 30 years with First Friday open house


Over 30 years, Lackawanna County Children’s Library changed with the world around it.

But one thing remains the same: it’s a hub of information, friendly faces and fun programming.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the library, 520 Vine St., Scranton, will host an open house Friday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. during the First Friday Art Walk. The event invites those unfamiliar with the library’s services to stop by, said Laureen O’Handley, head of the children’s library.

“We’ve become a lot more than just a book place,” she said with a laugh. “This way, the community has an opportunity to see some of these things.”

The open house will feature tours of the space so families can explore what the library has to offer. Guests can view a mural created by library staff and local artists as well as works by artists Peg McDade and Marshall Rumbaugh including restored heritage dolls. The dolls represent the “diverse and growing” cultures found in Scranton, O’Handley said. Those influential with the creation of the children’s library will attend, and guests can enjoy refreshments, including a big cake.

“It’s going to be a fun night and a celebration,” O’Handley said. “The impact on the community and their impact on the library is what it’s about.”

Started as a small room in Albright Memorial Library, the children’s library moved to its own building, the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, next door in December 1987 to accommodate the growing number of families using its services. The programming changed along with the times, O’Handley said, and today includes activities for toddlers through middle-schoolers and their families. They range from story times and crafts to English as a Second Language sessions and programs with robotics and Minecraft. Many programs have to do with STREAM — science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math — O’Handley said, and special programs, such as interactive events and magic shows, also take place with help from the nonprofit Friends of the Library.

Besides programs, the library offers a place where families can access the internet for free and teachers can find tools for their classrooms. Libraries remain “a great asset to communities because everyone can use them,” O’Handley said.

The open house offers not only a look back at the past three decades but also a chance to celebrate the present and encourage folks to return.

“People should come in and visit us and see what we’re all about,” O’Handley said. “In the age of technology, reading and literacy are still very important.”

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